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People are turning their backs on email because of the spam plague, according to research published by US outfit Pew Internet.

Its research found that one in four people has reduced their use of email because of the increasing amount of spam clogging up their inboxes. Six in ten of those who use email less say they have cut back "in a big way".

The findings - although not surprising - are yet further evidence that for many people, spam is an unwelcome curse.

For instance, the research found that seven in ten people find that spam makes being online "unpleasant or annoying", while eight in ten say they are bothered by "deceptive or dishonest content of spam". Three quarters of those quizzed said they were put off by offensive or obscene content of spam.

Said the report: "The huge increase in email spam in recent years is beginning to take its toll on the online world. Some email users say they are using electronic mail less now because of spam.

"More people are reporting they trust the online environment less. Increasing numbers are saying that they fear they cannot retrieve the emails they need because of the flood of spam.

"In short, our new data from a national survey suggest that spam is beginning to undermine the integrity of email and to degrade the online experience," it said. ®

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